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Adventure / August 20, 2017

This all-mountain pack contains 0% B.S.

Written by: Renee Howard

When it comes to gear, climbers are often faced with a tough choice: lightweight minimalism or bombproof durability. But in order to be prepared for anything, the truth is that we need both. 

That’s what Cotopaxi delivers with their 20L Tarak climbing pack. The pack is designed with everything a climber needs and no extra frills. Every stitch and strap has purpose, which makes the pack an aesthetic and intuitive companion in the mountains.

Every part of the pack is built to last with 210D Nylon 66 ripstop. Drag it over the cheese grater granite crystals that shred your hands to a pulp and it’ll be just fine (trust me—I did just that). 

The pack has no unnecessary features, and the features it does have are well selected. There are only two plastic buckles on the whole bag, making for fewer potential break points. Dual ice axe holders make the pack suitable for use on serious technical climbs, and a removable waist belt makes it easier to wear with a harness.

The pack is loaded with points for securing your gear. Configurable compression and lash points leave a ton of options for organizing your rack and rope without cluttering the bag’s simple look. 

Because they're made from recycled materials, no two Tarak bags have the exact same color patterns.

The Tarak's design minimizes the use of breakable plastic bundles. As shown here, the bag's main compartment can be sealed with a metal hook and loop.

Unobtrusive runners down the bag's side provide ample places to clip additional gear.

The Tarak is large enough to be useful, but small enough not to restrict freedom of movement. That’s especially crucial in steep, technical terrain where you don’t want a pack snagging and flopping around as you navigate no-fall zones.

Twenty liters seems to be a perfect size for climbing but also might find its way into rotation as a skiing, hiking and biking backpack. However, for remote or technical backcountry skiing, I don’t think this pack has quite enough volume for everything you might need (unless you are a serious lightweight enduro-ski type).

Other features on this bad boy include:

  • A hydration sleeve
  • Low profile shoulder straps
  • Metal buckle and webbing loop for securing the top flap easily with gloves
  • Streamlined pockets for your essentials
  • Total weight of 1lb 3oz
  • A slim profile of 21 x 8.5 x 8in

My overall impression is that this pack can meet the needs of both the seasoned alpinist or a novice at the local sport crag. The Tarak does not sacrifice form for function and is one of the few packs that feels completely natural to wear during even the most technical ascents.

The Tarak is made from recycled materials, so no two bags share the same color scheme. And as with all Cotopaxi gear go toward poverty alleviation efforts around the globe.

We sell the Tarak in our shop for $89.95.

Do you have questions or comments about this feature? Email them to us at [email protected].

about the author

Renee Howard

Renee is a photographer and writer based out of South-central Alaska. Her interest in bridging gaps between all manner of outdoor sports, philosophy, folk culture and backwoods artistry is a significant motivation for her work.

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